FAQ – Civil Rights Defenders of the Year Award

Who are Civil Rights Defenders?

Civil Rights Defenders is a politically and religiously independent non-governmental organisation. We defend civil and political rights together with local human rights defenders to increase their security, capacity, and access to justice. Through legal means and public advocacy, we hold states, individuals and non-state actors accountable for human rights violations. Read more about our work here.

How do you elect the recipient?

The recipient of the award is appointed by the Civil Rights Defenders’ Board, which chooses between three candidates presented by the organisation’s secretariat. The secretariat makes their choices based on nominations submitted by Civil Rights Defenders’ worldwide network of human rights defenders and human rights organisations. Nomination for the Civil Rights Defender of the Year Award is by invitation only. Read more about the award and selection process here.

How can I nominate someone for the award?

Nomination for the Civil Rights Defender of the Year Award is by invitation only. Civil Rights Defenders invites its worldwide network of human rights defenders and human rights organisations to nominate candidates for the award. Read more about the nomination and selection process here.

This is happening all over the world, why are you focusing on Hungary?

We have seen a dramatic decline in democracy, human rights and rule of law for the past 10 years. The civic space is shrinking around the world and authoritarian leaders are gaining ground. Europe is not immune, and Hungary has seen dramatic changes in the past 10 years – a schoolbook example of how democracy can be dismantled (for example by smearing and discrediting human rights defenders and government critics, promoting xenophobia and intolerance in society, and the establishment of repressive laws) while at the same time Hungarian human rights organisations show that there is hope.

Why Márta and her work?

Civil Rights Defenders works with thousands of human rights defenders from all over the world. We are proud to be able to continue these partnerships and everyone is equally important. Each year a large number of high-quality nominations are submitted by Civil Rights Defenders’ network. Civil Rights Defenders’ Board chooses the candidate that meets the criteria the best. Read more about the nomination and selection process here.

Why should one care about what is going on in Hungary?

Hungary was long seen as a success story. After the fall of communism, Hungary became a champion of reform and democratisation, and joined the European Union in 2004. But despite this, Hungary is now experiencing a rapid democratic deterioration and fundamental rights are being violated. This type of development puts democracy in Europe Union at test and we need to learn to spot the threats and act before it is too late.

How can I contribute to your work?

The easiest way to contribute to our work is by donating a gift to Civil Rights Defenders here. Your gift strengthens human rights defenders in some of the world’s most repressive regions.